U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released online from January 1, 1997 to January 20, 2001. Please see www.state.gov for current material from the Department of State. Or visit http://2001-2009.state.gov for information from that period. Archive sites are not updated, so external links may no longer function. Contact us with any questions about finding information. NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.
U.S. Department of State

Department Seal

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

flag
bar

BRIEFING INDEX
Thursday, July 3, 1997
Briefer: Nicholas Burns
ANNOUNCEMENTS/
STATEMENTS
1Welcome to Visitors
1-3Direct Talks between Cypriot Leaders under UN Auspices
14-15Secretary Albright's Upcoming Travel to Europe
GREECE/TURKEY
3-4Tensions/Pursuit of Confidence Building Measures in Aegean
FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
4Republic of Macedonia--Reported UN Proposal for Name Change
5Bosnia-No Change in SFOR Instructions re: War Criminals
NATO
5-8NATO Enlargement
NORTH KOREA
8-10Bilateral Mtg.w/U.S. in NY
8-10Food Aid-U.S. Contributions
9Four Party Mtg. in NY in August
MIDDLE EAST
10-11Condemnation of Portrayal of Prophet Mohammed by Israeli Settler
11-12Violence in Hebron and Gaza
ARMS CONTROL/
NON-PROLIFERATION
12-13CIA Report on Arms Proliferation
13Diversions of Supercomputers for Military End-Use
13-14Sub-Critical Nuclear Experiments at Nevada Test Site

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB # 99
THURSDAY, JULY 3, 1997 1:06 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BURNS: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I want to introduce a couple of distinguished guests, Xavier Prats from Spain is the counselor in the Cabinet of European Commission Vice President Manuel Marin.
We have some interns here from the Department of State. Caryn Mohr is from the Bureau of Public Affairs, from the front office and Office of Public Communications. She's from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She attends the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, where she's working on a master's in public affairs. Brian Eiler is from our European Bureau. Brian's from Chicago; a political science major at Kenyon College. He's a Cubs fan, so he's welcome here because we like to commiserate with Cubs fans. And Dan Richenthal is from the European Bureau. He's from New York; and economics major at Amherst College - probably a Yankees fan. I think we've confirmed he's a Yankees fan. We decided to let him come, on a one-time basis only, to this briefing - just because we believe in redemption. We think that people can see the true path in the future. We hope very much that happens to you.
Okay, I have one announcement today, and that is on Cyprus. Direct talks between Cypriot leaders Clerides and Denktash, under UN auspices, begin on July 9th, in Amenia, New York at the Trout Beck Conference Center. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will open the session, which will conclude, we believe, on July 13. These are the first direct talks between the two Cypriot leaders since 1994. We want to reaffirm our very strong support for these discussions.
We call on the two Cypriot sides and all other interested parties to work hard to begin a process that will bridge the differences that divide the two communities in Cyprus. The ultimate objective of this process remains a comprehensive settlement that will establish a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation for Cyprus. We hope the New York session will lay a foundation for future negotiations this year and next.
Our special presidential emissary, Dick Holbrooke, will meet privately and separately prior to the talks with the two Cypriot leaders in New York. Ambassador Holbrooke will also be meeting with other UN officials.
I had a very good conversation with Dick Holbrooke yesterday. He has been quite active over the past couple of weeks in trying to lay the groundwork for his own work on this issue, but he very much respects the position of the United Nations. That's why he will not be attending these talks. This is a UN affair. We want to give the United Nations every support here to promote a good basis for these discussions in New York. As I said yesterday, we'll be represented at a low level, a lower level in Amenia itself. Dick Holbrooke will not be going to Amenia, but he will meet separately with President Clerides and Mr. Denktash before the talks begin.
With that, I'll be glad to take your questions, George.
QUESTION: Does Holbrooke have plans to go to the region?
MR. BURNS: At some point he'll certainly go to the region. He will not be traveling to the region before these talks begin. I think what will happen is, we'll see how these talks proceed; we'll see what kind of progress is made. We hope progress is made. Following that, he'll make his own plans as to how he proceeds from there. He'll certainly be going to the region at some point in time.
We're also zeroing in on a Cyprus coordinator - someone who will work with Dick Holbrooke, under his authority, on a full-time basis. As you know, Dick is still in private life as an investment banker. He only works with us about a week a month. But he probably puts in about 120, 130 hours in that week. So it's almost like a full-time job. It's good to have him back working with us. He's an outstanding individual. We had a very, very good talk - he and I - together about everything that's got to be done to move forward on Cyprus. He's really the best man that we could choose for this mission. Tom?
QUESTION: Are you now ready to announce Tom Miller's role as the coordinator? I mean, his name has been given in Ankara, in Athens, I think from - I tend to think from yourself, also. I mean --
MR. BURNS: No, I am quite sure he has not announced anything. It is interesting you would hear his name bandied about in Athens and Ankara. Announcements of U.S. government officials are generally made in Washington. So when we are ready to announce who the next Cyprus coordinator will be, we will announce that. But I am not prepared, at this point, to do it.
QUESTION: It's always good when the Greeks and Turks agree on something?
MR. BURNS: That's right. Now, that's positive that that's the case here. Mr. Lambros, yes.
QUESTION: When you say bi-zonal, bi-communal, you mean one federated republic of Cyprus with one government, with one flag, et cetera, et cetera?
MR. BURNS: I mean bi-communal and bi-zonal and bi-communal, Mr. Lambros. That's the long-standing U.S. policy on this issue.
QUESTION: Yes, but you mean one Cypriot state?
MR. BURNS: I mean bi-zonal and bi-communal. I don't want to go beyond that because the United Nations is beginning negotiations --
QUESTION: Yeah, yeah, I understand.
MR. BURNS: It's only appropriate for us - excuse me? I couldn't understand what you were muttering.
(Laughter.)
MR. BURNS: I hope there weren't any expletives in those mutterings, Mr. Lambros.
QUESTION: But one Cypriot state?
MR. BURNS: We don't allow that in the State Department briefing room.
QUESTION: No, but, listen - you know the issue very well. Do you mean one Cypriot state? One federal republic of Cyprus? O r two entities?
MR. BURNS: A bi-zonal, bi-cameral federation, Mr. Lambros.
QUESTION: Excuse me.
MR. BURNS: What I don't want to do is be overly prescriptive. I just tactically want to allow the United Nations now to begin these talks without any sideline comments from the United States. We very much support these talks. But our long-standing prescription has been bi-zonal and bi-communal. I am very pleased to offer that again to you today. I think you know what we mean by all this.
QUESTION: And to my pending question yesterday regarding the confidence measures of the Aegean, do you have anything?
MR. BURNS: Excuse me, which - I think you asked two questions yesterday?
QUESTION: Yes, one for the Skopje issue and the other was for the Aegean. And I stated yesterday that the DOD expressed its full support to the so-called confidence measures in the Aegean.
MR. BURNS: Well, what I can tell you is that some time ago, as you know, the NATO Secretary General initiated an effort to pursue some measures to reduce tensions in the Aegean. The United States strongly supports that effort and continues to support that effort. We know that we believe that whatever tension-reducing measures that can be agreed upon and implemented in the Aegean should be carried out by the parties.
But we don't have an agreement between Greece and Turkey to pursue those initiatives yet. They are still being discussed by NATO with both Greece and Turkey. We very much encourage both Greece and Turkey to continue those talks with NATO and to seek agreement on confidence building measures because no one wants to see further tension in the Aegean area.
QUESTION: How do you respond to the Turkish unilateral action to impose them unilaterally in the Aegean the other day, with the full support of the DOD, as it was stated by Mr. Bacon the other day?
MR. BURNS: If you are referring to the confidence-building measures --
QUESTION: That's correct.
MR. BURNS: -- all I can tell is that the United States supports the efforts of both Greece and Turkey to discuss these with NATO. But I am not aware that there has been any conclusion to those talks. In fact, I don't believe there has been any agreement yet on which confidence-building measures should be pursued. So we will have to wait for the conclusion of those discussions.
Now, you asked another question. Why don't we just do this right now. This is on the issue of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The United Nations has not informed the United States of any proposal under consideration. This is a matter, as you know, we believe, for Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to work through the United Nations auspices. We applaud the efforts of both parties to resolve differences peacefully. We encourage them to participate further in the talks. We are pleased to note that relations between Athens and Skopje have improved greatly since the signing of the interim accord in September 1995. We see this in a variety of ways. It's very important to note that progress.
So I hope we have answered both the questions you asked yesterday, sir.
QUESTION: In the first one --
MR. BURNS: Excuse me?
QUESTION: In the first one the situation is not clear because, as I told you, the Turkish Government imposed the five proposals unilaterally in the Aegean Sea the other day -- the so-called confidence measures. And the DOD has taken, further, the position that they fully support and welcome this movement by the Turkish Government.
MR. BURNS: No. I talked to Ken Bacon today about this, and that's not so. The United States is putting our faith in NATO to negotiate confidence building measures with Greece and Turkey. Those discussions have not finished. Greece ought to be given time to consider what Turkey has announced publicly. I think you're referring to the Turkish public statements. Greece ought to be given time to do that. We support NATO.
QUESTION: New subject?
MR. BURNS: Sure.
QUESTION: Bosnia. Again, reports --
MR. BURNS: Yes.
QUESTION: -- things being announced in foreign capitals, outside the United States. But Bosnian Serb TV is reporting that orders have been given in mid-June for NATO forces to snatch Karadzic and Miladic; in other words, changing the mission. Response?
MR. BURNS: That report is false, absolutely and unequivocally false. There has been no change in the instructions to soldiers in SFOR, pertaining to the detaining and arrest of war criminals, indicted war criminals. No change whatsoever.
The rules of the road remain. That is if SFOR forces encounter people who they know to be indicted war criminals, they are to detain them for transfer to civilian authority so that they may be arrested and then turned over to The Hague for prosecution. Let's again remind the Bosnian Serb authorities, because the control Bosnian Serb television, where this report was made erroneously - it's their responsibility to detain these war criminals and to turn them over to The Hague. It's their primary responsibility.
QUESTION: But there's been no change - NATO's not going to be more aggressive, NATO forces more aggressive in looking for war criminals? It's still --
MR. BURNS: There's been no change in the instructions to NATO forces, to SFOR forces in the area. Yes, still on Bosnia? Yes.
QUESTION: How does the State Department feel about France's reluctant support of the United States' position on NATO enlargement?
MR. BURNS: Well, we're discussing this very issue with France today, and I believe we will through the weekend. There is a consensus in NATO that three countries - the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary - should be admitted as members in Madrid next week. There is not yet a consensus -- there is not a consensus on five. The United States supports three and will not support five. That's our position. We were the last country to go public with our position, the very last country. We consulted with all of our allies privately before we went public with our position.
We're working well with the French now, having good discussions with the French Government, trying to work out a consensus. We believe that by the end of the day on Tuesday, in Madrid, there will be a consensus. I would anticipate that consensus would be at three.
QUESTION: The United States is pleased that France seems to be coming along the thinking of our country.
MR. BURNS: Well, what I can tell you is, I'm not sure all the reports that you read this morning are fully accurate. I don't believe the French Government has ended its discussions with NATO allies on this issue. There is no consensus yet, as I said. There is a consensus on three; there's no consensus beyond that. I don't believe that discussions are over. There was a quality of some of the reporting in some of the newspapers this morning as if there was full agreement. I don't believe that's the case.
I believe there's still some differences of view within NATO on this issue that need to be worked out this weekend, leading up to the convening of the Madrid summit. We're working very hard on that. We're putting all of our resources into it. We want to work constructively with the French, because France is a valued member of the NATO alliance, as well as the other countries that have an interest in this.
QUESTION: But have the French assured the U.S. that they won't block only three?
MR. BURNS: We're not at the end of our discussions. The discussions continue today and I believe they'll continue over the weekend. I don't want to describe the French position. That's for my colleague Jacques Rummelhardt, the French foreign ministry spokesman to do, not for me.
But I can tell you we're determined to reach a consensus and we're determined to keep the number to three. The answer to the other prospective members of NATO is not no; it's not yet - meaning that we believe that Madrid obviously should also talk about an open door, the fact that NATO will remain open to future membership, future expansion of the alliance. There are a number of countries that might be very good candidates for that.
QUESTION: But that was the gist of The New York Times report - not that France had given up pushing Romania and Slovenia, but that France would not block only three if it didn't get its way.
MR. BURNS: But you see, I can't speak for the French Government and don't wish to do so, because I know that the discussions continue today. Secretary Albright's been very busy. She spoke with the Italian foreign minister this morning, Minister Dini. She and Strobe Talbott had a number of discussions together on this issue this morning. There were discussions at the White House on this issue this morning in which they participated. So I don't want to leave you - because it wouldn't be fair or accurate - with the impression that somehow the debate has ended in the alliance. It hasn't; there are still differences which we need to work through. But we're confident that at the end of the day, those differences will have been put aside, a consensus will have been reached. We're confident what that consensus will be.
QUESTION: -- discussing the southern command with France over the weekend?
MR. BURNS: I don't believe there are many active discussions about that. I think if you look at the French statement yesterday, I think we have to agree to disagree for the moment on that issue. But we remain open to constructive discussions with our French allies on that particular issue. We do believe it's important that NATO - that obviously there be a European character in the command structure in NATO. But the United States is not prepared to give up the American command in AFSOUTH at Naples, because of all the reasons we've cited - the presence of the Sixth Fleet and the important operational decisions that that commander must take on behalf of the United States, as well as NATO.
So I think we have very good reasons for sticking with our position, which has not changed. We obviously respect the French and want to make sure that we remain open to further conversations in the future about this issue.
QUESTION: Nick, is there consensus on a second wave of expansion among the NATO allies?
MR. BURNS: I think there's definitely - I believe there's consensus that there ought to be a second wave. I think you saw that in Sintra, in the statements of the foreign ministers. I think you saw it at the NATO ministerials, even before that. We believe very strongly that the open door has to be part of our thinking about NATO in the future. There is no reason to think that NATO should expand once and stop forever. This should be an evolutionary process where countries that reform themselves and make progress on their internal reforms in their foreign relations with countries around them should be rewarded and considered for membership in the future. There are very many countries in that category that you and I can cite.
QUESTION: According to sources, there is at least one European country, Mr. Burns, which publicly supports your expansion, but behind the scenes trying to convince other NATO members not to vote in order to catch by surprise the American delegation in Madrid. How do you comment?
MR. BURNS: Let me guess, which country is that, Mr. Lambros?
QUESTION: There are some European - (inaudible). I'm not representative to name one, but --
MR. BURNS: It's very difficult to answer the question. I think, Mr. Lambros, I can't answer the question if I don't know the country to which you're referring.
But in any case, NATO is an alliance of free countries. Countries are free to have their own views. There are a variety of views within NATO, but we're confident that NATO will reach a consensus because this is an exceedingly important issue. It's a turning point for NATO. We've been working on this for three and a half years - since January 1994, the NATO Summit in Brussels, when President Clinton suggested first NATO enlargement. We're confident that Madrid will result in an expansion of those three countries.
QUESTION: You are confident that at the summit at Madrid you are going to succeed your goal.
MR. BURNS: We're confident NATO will succeed together - all 16 countries together.
QUESTION: But there is - Mr. Burns --
MR. BURNS: Standing side by side.
QUESTION: But as Mr. Berger told us yesterday at the White House, whatever you're doing shows the U.S. interest in the area, not only the Europe.
MR. BURNS: All countries act to promote their own self-interests, Mr. Lambros, but we also, as a member of a collective defense organization, wish to promote the collective interests of our NATO allies. We believe that will be achieved by reaching a consensus on this issue in Madrid. Yes, sir.
QUESTION: Where are the talks about North Korea yesterday - with North Korea yesterday?
MR. BURNS: Yes. Yes, as you know, we had a bilateral meeting with the North Korean delegation. I believe we gave you some information on that last evening. It was a broad gauged meeting that talked about all the issues that are of interest between the United States and North Korea, including the agreed framework, the four-party talks, the issue of food aid.
Now, on food aid, I can tell you - I can update you that our most recent contribution of $15 million - our total this year is $25 million -- but the second tranche is now being delivered. A U.S. flag ship delivered to North Korea the last tranche of that contribution. The vessel unloaded 17,000 tons of grain in Nampo on North Korea's west coast on June 29. This ship is now proceeding to Chongjin in Northeastern North Korea, where it will deliver the remainder of its cargo, 8,000 tons of grain. This is the first shipment of international assistance to be delivered directly to Northeastern North Korea.
The North Korean Government has agreed that the World Food Program will be able to send monitors to Northeastern North Korea for the very first time. So we're satisfied that both sides are carrying out their commitments in the provision of food assistance.
As I said, the bilateral meeting was attended on our side by Chuck Kartman, our acting assistant secretary of state; on the North Korean side by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan. It's part of our ongoing dialogue. In addition to the issues that I raised, we also discussed missile proliferation; the establishment of liaison offices; and obviously the uncovering of the fate of the more than 8,100 American missing in action from the Korean Conflict. Yes, sir.
QUESTION: Is there any agreement about the timetable - I mean, the setting, the --
MR. BURNS: I don't believe we've reached a final agreement on that.
QUESTION: Not yet?
MR. BURNS: No.
QUESTION: One more thing, will there be a change about the economic sanctions to North Korea?
MR. BURNS: I'm not aware of any change, no. No.
QUESTION: Not yet.
MR. BURNS: American policy remains constant in that. Yes.
QUESTION: On a Japanese wire this morning, it was reported that they're going to have another bilateral meeting in August. Can you confirm that?
MR. BURNS: That the United States and North Korea? I cannot confirm that. I can look into that for you. We're going to have an important meeting on August 5th in New York, which is going to be a four-party meeting. China will attend. This is the meeting, of course, to prepare for the four-party talks themselves - to discuss the agenda and the venue and the dates and the participants, the level of participants; a very important meeting. We've made progress on this proposal during the last 15 months. We're very pleased about that.
QUESTION: You mentioned Northeast North Korea as the destination of this --
MR. BURNS: Second tranche - second part of the shipment of the second tranche of food aid.
QUESTION: Was it the North Korean idea to send the vessel up there?
MR. BURNS: I don't know. It may have been the World Food Program's idea. I don't know the answer to that question.
QUESTION: Do you have anything that might describe the conditions in Northeastern North Korea?
MR. BURNS: I do not, but we can seek to get that for you, George, should you be interested.
QUESTION: Okay.
MR. BURNS: Yes, yes, sir.
QUESTION: Yesterday's meeting in New York, did United States and express it's willing to give another food assistance to North Korea?
MR. BURNS: We have said publicly and privately that we are prepared to consider further requests for food assistance, should that be forthcoming from the World Food Program, which is our preferred agency in working with the North Koreans. To date, I don't believe we've received any further requests, but I should tell you the United States, I don't believe, has ever turned down a request from the World Food Program since 1995. We're the largest donor to that program.
QUESTION: If you do, do you have any idea of what amount of new assistance? Last time you gave $50 million? Do you give further more or less than $50 million next time?
MR. BURNS: That will depend on the nature of the request from the World Food Program. We will have to look at the request first to see how much the total is before we can decide on which share of that total of the United States should assume responsibility for. Steve?
QUESTION: The Middle East?
MR. BURNS: Yes.
QUESTION: The incident involving the posters that were spread around by the citizen of Israel -- I'm just wondering if the State Department has given any thought to that specifically and the kind of environment that is spawning that kind of seeming religious hatred from both sides?
MR. BURNS: The United States has given great thought to this over the last couple of days, and I mean at the very highest levels of our government. We condemn the outrageous, crude and sick portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed by an Israeli settler the other day. This woman is either sick or she is evil. She and people like her, people who espouse these views have no place in the modern Middle East where peace has to be the agreed-upon objective of Israelis and Arabs. We are very pleased that she is going to be put on trial by the Israeli Government. She deserves to be put on trial for these outrageous attacks on Islam. We are grateful that President Weizman and Prime Minister Netanyahu have denounced her and her actions and her sick cartoon in very clear terms.
The United States has the greatest respect for Islam. We have several million Muslims in our own country who practice freely their religion here. Islam has made, over a very long time, great contributions to civilization in our hemisphere and throughout the world. We utterly and completely reject any attempt by anyone to denigrate Islam and the Prophet Mohammed in the way that this person has done. It's outrageous.
QUESTION: Nick, while I agree with everything you say, of course. Don't you think this woman deserves a trial before you pronounce her guilty?
MR. BURNS: I am not sure this woman has denied authorship of this cartoon, Sid. It is sick. It is sick and it is evil. It is an affront to every right-thinking person. I do not believe she deserves a lot of sympathy. She lives in a free country, Israel. She lives in a democratic country where people receive a free trial. She will be put on trial, but I am not going to say to anyone shedding any tears for her or has any sympathy for her, she ought to be condemned.
QUESTION: If, in fact, she did it?
MR. BURNS: I do not believe she is arguing about whether she did it or not. No one is arguing about the authorship of this cartoon. I don't believe she deserves any defense from me. Let her hire a defense attorney and pay some money to defend herself, but I am not going to defend her. No way.
QUESTION: Nick, how would you describe the climate now over there? Does this cartoon coming out, is this an impediment to the peace process? I mean, it seems like things are flaring at an enormous rate.
MR. BURNS: Well, I hope that the Palestinian population understands that the vast majority of Israelis - the vast majority, overwhelming - do not share the sentiments of this sick person. Obviously, all of the United States and the American people condemn what has happened and have the greatest respect for Islam.
It is important to say that in this environment, that the United States be forthright in saying that. We encourage Palestinians and Israelis to put aside the violence in Hebron. I mean the violence on both sides and the violence in Hebron, and to get back to the negotiating table. Both Israelis and Palestinians have responsibility for what is happening in producing this violence and in carrying out. In observing what's happening on the street, we don't want to point the finger at one of them or the other and say they are more responsible than the other. They are both responsible for bringing this situation away from violence in the streets and back to the negotiating table.
QUESTION: Wouldn't you agree that acts like this are an impediment to peace in the area?
MR. BURNS: Acts like this are outrageous and have no place in the modern Middle East. We cannot allow them to be an impediment. If we allow them to be an impediment, then we are playing in to the hands of these sick extremists on both sides who want to continue violence and who don't want peace to be achieved in the Middle East. Yes?
QUESTION: Nick, the Israeli defense minister yesterday said that probably the Palestinian authority or the Palestinian police were behind the violent demonstration in Hebron and Gaza. Do you have anything on it?
MR. BURNS: I would just say that we would like to call upon the Palestinians and the Israelis to exercise maximum restraint and do everything in their power to restore calm. It is up to both of them to end the violence. We are not going to take sides here. We are going to ask both the Israelis and Palestinians to end the violence -- do everything they can in what they say to their people, in their public statements, and in their actions, to try to end the violence there.
There have been hundreds of people wounded in Hebron - a young boy killed yesterday by a rubber bullet. Israeli troops have been attacked. We do not support any of this. We don't support violence of any kind in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Certainly, the Israeli Government has a responsibility to maintain order. We understand that. We understand that. We think it is important to show restraint in situations like this. The Palestinian Authority has an obligation to do the right thing and say the right thing to its own people and not to encourage violence. That is very important. So we think both sides have an obligation here to restrain themselves and to send public signals that will bridge differences and not expand the divisions that are obvious in Hebron today. Yes.
QUESTION: Can you talk about the CIA report that Russia and China are selling nuclear arms to India, Pakistan and Iran?
MR. BURNS: I really have very little to say about that. That is a CIA report that is public. The CIA is giving it out to journalists. It's available to the Congress, as well. I think it's self-evident. But I really refer you to the CIA.
QUESTION: My next question begs itself, though. The CIA says they are the worst proliferators in the world. And you all still say you can't get enough evidence to apply any sort of any sort of sanctions on China relating to their proliferation? How come? It would appear that the two of you don't see eye-to-eye on this. Or perhaps you have another objective in --
MR. BURNS: No, I don't believe that's logical to deduce that. The CIA has said that China exports arms around the world; that's a fact. Now it's a matter of law to determine if China has violated either U.S. sanctions law or its obligations under the missile technology control regime. While the United States continues to be concerned about many actions of the government of China regarding proliferation, and while we discuss this - in fact, Secretary Albright discussed it just the other day in Hong Kong with Vice Premier Qian Qichen - we cannot find a country guilty of violating a law without evidence, without concrete evidence. We don't have that evidence in the current realm.
But I would remind you in the ring magnets case of May 1996 and in cases in the years preceding that, we have found China - we have at least, excuse me, placed sanctions on certain Chinese entities. So we are willing to and we are obligated to implement our law. But we can't do it based on suppositions or appearances. We must do it on concrete evidence, and we are pursuing that concrete evidence right now.
QUESTION: Is it the Administration's opinion that Russia is not abiding by the 1995 agreement not to sell any new weapons or not to cooperate - have any new cooperation with Iran's military or nuclear area?
MR. BURNS: No, that's not the Administration's position. Our position is that Russia is abiding by that agreement, but we continue to have concerns about Russian activities, as well, which we raise with the Russian Government, pertaining certain types of sales to Iran, especially. So we are watching Russia and China very carefully. But in the case of the 1995 agreement, we hope that it will be fully implemented, and we think it has been so far.
QUESTION: Nick, I think the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman denied the suggestion that they had diverted a supercomputer purchased from the United States for uses other than those which were designated at the time of purchase. Did you see that story?
MR. BURNS: I did not see that story.
QUESTION: Okay. Anyway, you're pretty confident that there was a diversion?
MR. BURNS: Well, let me say a couple of things about this. Unfortunately, several newspaper reports have indicated that Secretary Albright had an extended conversation about this issue with Vice Premier Qian the other day. She did not. As I said to the reporters traveling with us, the Secretary raised the issue of the supercomputers at the very end of the meeting really to signal that it is a major issue for us, but she did not get into any of the details. She did not name companies; she did not cite examples. I want to be clear about that and that's the way I briefed it to the press corps.
What we have said is that we believe unfortunately that diversions have taken place of some of the lower capacity supercomputers, in terms of MTOP capacity. We are concerned about this. We have addressed our concerns specifically to the Chinese in some detail and we are looking to the Chinese Government to police its own companies who we believe have improperly diverted supercomputer technology for military end use, which is against the rules, against our agreement and improper under international guidelines. We hope that the Chinese Government beyond just denying certain facts will take this issue very seriously. They ought to take it seriously because we intend to pursue it very vigorously with them.
QUESTION: Nick, the Chinese briefer today also criticized the United States for conducting what he called a nuclear test and he called on the United States to abide by the Test Ban Treaty and not conduct such tests. Do you have any comment?
MR. BURNS: The United States is not conducting nuclear tests. I think we told you the other day that there had been subcritical experiments at the Nevada test site by the United States. They are experiments using high explosives and nuclear weapon materials including special nuclear weapon materials like plutonium. The experiments are designed to insure the nuclear materials will remain subcritical; that is, there will be no self-sustaining chain nuclear reaction. Therefore, the experiments are consistent with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was signed by President Clinton and by the Chinese Government, by Qian Qichen on September 24, 1996.
The first experiment has been reviewed by technical experts at Los Alamos and at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories to ensure that it was subcritical, and it was subcritical. We are very careful about this. We strictly adhere to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and it is not appropriate for the Chinese spokesman in this case - it was not Cheng Guofang, my colleague, it was someone else -- to be loose in the way that they characterize our activities. Subcritical experiments are not nuclear tests. They ought to get their physics right.
QUESTION: Is the U.S. willing to share the results of these tests with other nuclear powers to make sure that they, too, don't have a self-sustaining chain reaction?
MR. BURNS: As a matter of course, I think we obviously are willing to respond to questions that signatories of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty might wish to address to the United States. I don't know how much information we can share because the United States nuclear program is a highly classified program. You just can't waltz into Los Alamos and expect to have everything given to you on a silver platter. But in the interests of being forthcoming, we are very pleased to assure the Chinese that no nuclear tests are being undertaken.
I have a lot of technical information here and I can even read that to you if you would like. We will be glad to give it to the Chinese, my press guidance. We can certainly mail them my press guidance.
QUESTION: Do you know whether these test or tests showed that the arsenal, the American nuclear arsenal is in good shape?
MR. BURNS: Well, I think we are the greatest scientific country in the world and I think you can be assured that the United States nuclear forces are in good shape, adequate, ready to be used to defend the United States if that should ever be necessary. We hope it never will be necessary. I cannot give you a physics readout on it. You might ask the Department of Energy or the Department of Defense for that.
QUESTION: No rotten eggs in there?
MR. BURNS: Pardon?
QUESTION: No rotten eggs --
MR. BURNS: I cannot give you the specifics on it and I believe this is an ongoing series of subcritical experiments. I don't believe it's finished. Yes, sir?
QUESTION: Nick, I don't want to take you over well-plowed ground, but you went through the Secretary's schedule yesterday in some detail.
MR. BURNS: Yes.
QUESTION: Are you able to give us any idea about the mission for this, the agenda for her travel that she is going to be doing?
MR. BURNS: Well, very generally, as you know, after President Clinton completes his trip to Europe with visits to Poland, Romania and Denmark at the end of next week, Secretary Albright and Secretary Cohen will be visiting certain countries in Central Europe to follow up with them on the results of the Madrid Summit.
Secretary Albright will be traveling to Slovenia, to Russia, to Lithuania for meetings with all the Baltic countries in Lithuania and to the Czech Republic, which will be one of the countries invited to join NATO. The purpose of these follow-on visits by both Secretary Albright and Secretary Cohen is to make sure that our friends in Central Europe are absolutely clear about NATO's intentions, about the fact that NATO remains open to further expansion for those countries - for instance, like Romania and Slovenia and the Baltic countries, who clearly wish to be part of NATO, but which we believe are not ready for NATO membership - and to discuss with some of those countries, which will be taken in, like Poland and the Czech Republic, the requirements of NATO membership in the years ahead. So it's really to touch base and to be absolutely sure that the message of Madrid is heard directly from senior-level Cabinet officials of the United States.
In St. Petersburg, the Secretary will be having a dinner meeting with Foreign Minister Primakov, following up their meeting on Monday - this past Monday in Hong Kong. That meeting will center not just on the results of Madrid, but also on the CFE talks that are so important right now, on START II, our common wish to proceed with START II and our hopes that the Russian Duma will ratify it shortly. So it is a very big agenda with the Russians. Secretary Albright had a really excellent meeting with Minister Primakov in Hong Kong and she looks forward to seeing him in St. Petersburg, which is one of the great cities of the world.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. BURNS: Thank you very much.

(The briefing concluded at 1:42 P.M.)

[end of document]

flag
bar

Great Seal Back to the Press Briefing Calendar. Return to the DOSFAN Home Page.
This is an official U.S. Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.